Very large flames and heavy smoke surrounded congested Highway 63 South, during the sudden evacuation of Fort McMurray in 2016. Wikipedia Commons License, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Landscape_view_of_wildfire_near_Highway_63_in_south_Fort_McMurray.jpg
20 Aug 2023

Canada wildfire crisis: 30,000 evacuated in BC over the weekend - 20,000 evacuated from Yellowknife - 36,000 more on evacuation alert



The wildfires in the central Okanagan region of the Canadian province of British Columbia flared up on Friday evening and fires have spread catastrophically over the weekend. In North West Territories, all 20,000 residents in the city of Yellowknife still remain under evacuation order. 

In Canada more than 80,000 people were either already evacuated, or under evacuation alert over the weekend. 

The province of BC has declared a state of emergency due to hundreds of active wildfires, reports among others the CBC. 

The BC emergency management ministry says 30,000 people have been told to leave their homes, and another 36,000 residents have been told to get ready to leave their homes at a moment's notice.

According to the B.C. Wildfire Service, the McDougall Creek wildfire burning in West Kelowna grew more than a hundredfold — from 64 hectares to 6,800 hectares (68 square kilometres) — in just 24 hours.

On late Friday evening, it reportedly covered an area of 105 square kilometres / 40 square miles.


Homes destroyed by fire in the interior of BC

Officials have confirmed that homes have been destroyed and 3,000 properties are on evacuation order in the Shuswap region. Two major fires have combined near Adams Lake, contributing to the situation.

Highway 1 remains closed with thousands of people out of their homes in the Fraser Canyon and Thompson-Nicola regions as the Kookipi Creek wildfire continues to grow.



Yellowknife dodged the wildfire this weekend - but is not out of the danger zone yet

Yellowknife, the capital of North West Territories,  which was evacuated this Friday, is still untouched by the wildfires - but not out of danger yet. All 20,000 residents were given until noon last Friday to leave. 

A wildfire burning close to the city of Yellowknife was expected to reach the city by the end of the weekend. However, rain and cooler temperatures has slowed the fire spread

Authorities have not deemed it safe to return to the city yet.   

One patient who was scheduled to moved to a hospital in another province is reported to have died during preparations for transport.  

According to health minister Julie Green, 39 patients were transported to B.C. by Canadian Armed Forces medical flights to different medical facilities.


Photo Credit: Residents evacuating by car when the Canadian city of Fort McMurray burned down almost entirely in 2016. Photo by DarrenRD. Wikipedia Commons License.


Original post on August 18

All residents in the northern Canadian capital of the Northwest Territories have been told to leave their homes by today, Friday. In British Columbia, more than 100,000 residents are on high alert from other wildfires approaching the city of Kelowna.  

20,000 residents of the community of Yellowknife in northwestern Canada are being asked to leave their homes by today. Authorities fear that the forest fire raging in the area will reach the community - and the only highway from there - this weekend.

The wildfire, which is 16 kilometres / 10 miles from the community, is fueled by strong winds. In order not to take any risks, residents are asked to leave the city by 12 noon local time.

On the road, escort cars are waiting with extra gas tanks in areas where visibility is poor. The queues are long by the gas stations.

For people who cannot evacuate with their own vehicles, extra flights have been scheduled. Already on Thursday, 1,500 residents left the city by plane. Another 22 flights and 1,800 people were expected to fly out on Friday.

According to BBC, 240 wildfires are burning in the province as of Thursday. The closest wildfire could reach the outskirts of Yellowknife by this weekend, officials have said.


More than 1000 wildfires still burning throughout Canada 

According to CNN, the wildfires in the Northwest Territories are among more than 1,000 fires burning across Canada as the country suffers through its worst fire season on record. Smoke from the fires has drifted into the US, bringing harmful pollution and affecting air quality for tens of millions of people this summer. 



State of emergency in Kelowna: BC: McDougal fire grew 100 times bigger in 24 hours

A state of emergency has been declared in the city of Kelowna in British Columbia. Officials warn the coming days could be the "most challenging of the summer" - and this summer, to say the least - has already been challenging. 

"The fire remains very active and unpredictable," officials said in a statement.

The McDougal fire in British Columbia has been intensifying due to recent heat waves and is now starting to approach the regional center of Kelowna, which is home to 150,000 people. 

West Kelowna has already experienced "structural los", according to officials.  

CBC.ca wrote on Friday,  August 18 that more than 2,400 properties are under an evacuation order and more than 4,800 properties under an evacuation alert due to the McDougall Creek wildfire approching.  The fire grew more than a hundredfold in just 24 hours: from 64 hectares to 6,800 hectares (6.8 square kilometres).